Using Original Research to Build Your Brand with Michele Linn

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Episode Summary

In this episode of The Notorious Thought Leader, Michele Linn, the founder of Mantis Research, explains how research reports can help your business build thought leadership. Michele and our host Erin Balsa answer frequently asked questions and share first-person learnings.

Guest Profile


Key Insights

Episode Highlights

Most Companies Can Benefit From Original Research

“One of the ways, when we started Mantis Research, that we built our brand was that we collaborated with BuzzSumo, and we created a state of original research. So we were a very net new brand with nothing, but having that one piece of research really helped put us on the map. A lot of times, we would get calls in, and it’s because people have actually seen that research. That was a play I took out of the CMI playbook. They did the same thing when they launched CMI. I’ve worked with other clients who are net new who have created research to launch their business. It works great.

But there are companies who are further down their path, and they can get really valuable insights and really valuable meaning out of doing research, too. So I honestly think it can work for any size company, but the temperament of the company and what they want to do, that’s a key difference.”

How Do You Find an Audience to Survey?

“You can either survey your own list, partner with another organization which has access to your list, or use survey panels to get responses. And survey panels can work really well. You can’t always just say, ‘I want you 500 X, Y, Z IT pros who specialize in this, who live in the Midwest.’ That’s a bad example, but you get my point. Some people think you can order up the exact people who you want to survey, but that’s not always possible, and it’s especially difficult with higher-level audiences. So, if you can’t find a large group of people to survey, it’s better to do a qualitative study, a smaller focus group, and really dig in there.”

Advantages of Partnering With Another Company

“I know back in the day, CMI — and they still do this — they always partner with MarketingProfs because MarketingProfs had a much bigger list than they did back in the day. When I’ve done this, I’ve worked with BuzzSumo. That’s a great way. If you can find the right partner, it’s a very inexpensive way to get people who are going to be thoughtful, and in exchange, you can always give them the survey results back just for their list so they can see how their own audience answers those questions. If you don’t have your own list, that is my preferred way to do it. […]

And it’s nice too, like when we did ours with BuzzSumo, I guarantee you, people were finding our name and our report on BuzzSumo’s website, not on ours. So it’s a great way to get additional visibility in a really easy way.”

How Long Does It Take to Make a Report?

“If you work with someone who does these reports and does this research, you’re probably going to be able to move faster. If you are doing this on your own, which is completely fine and completely valid, I would [say] give yourself more time than you think you need because there are a lot of different steps.

Give yourself about a month, the first month, to put together your strategy. What are you going to study? What questions do you want to answer? This gives you time to put together your actual survey questions, get feedback from the team, program your survey, test it, and finalize it. So, in general, a month is a relatively comfortable timeframe to do that.

The next part of the process is all around getting responses. If you use a panel, depending on who you want to reach, it could be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If you’re using your list, it might take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month plus. So, that is going to be very variable, depending on what your situation is.

And then, from there, you need to clean the data and analyze all of the results. Give yourself about a week to do that, and then you need to write your report.”